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Tuesday, August 6, 2019


Understanding what pleasure really is.

One has to understand relationship, because that is life. We can’t exist without relationship of some kind. You can’t withdraw into isolation, build a wall around yourself, as most people do, because that act of living in a sheltered, secure, isolated state of resistance only breeds more confusion, more problems, more misery. Life is, if one observes, a movement in action, a movement in relationship, and that is our whole problem: How to live in this world, where relationship is the very basis of all existence; how to live in this world so that relationship doesn’t become monotonous, dull, something that is ugly, repetitive.

Our minds do conform to the pattern of pleasure—and life is not mere pleasure, obviously. But we want pleasure. That is the only thing we are really seeking deeply, inwardly, secretly. We try to get pleasure out of almost anything, and pleasure, if one observes, not only those it isolates and confuses the mind, but it also creates values which are not true, not actual. So pleasure brings illusion. A mind that is seeking pleasure, as most of us are, not only isolates itself, but must invariably be in a state of contradiction in all its relationships, whether it is the relationship with ideas, with people, or with property; it must always be in conflict. So that is one of the things one has to understand: that our search in life is fundamentally the demand, the urge, the seeking of pleasure.

Now, this is very difficult to understand because, why shouldn’t one have pleasure? You see a beautiful sunset, a lovely tree, a river that has a wide, curving movement, or a beautiful face, and to look at it gives great pleasure, delight. What is wrong with that? It seems to me the confusion and the misery begin when that face, that river, that cloud, that mountain, becomes a memory, and this memory then demands a greater continuity of pleasure; we want such things repeated.

We all know this. I have had a certain pleasure, or you have had a certain delight in something, and we want it repeated. Whether it be sexual, artistic, intellectual, or something not quite of this character, we want it repeated—and I think that is where pleasure begins to darken the mind and create values which are false, not actual.

What matters is to understand pleasure, not try to get rid of it—that is too stupid. Nobody can get rid of pleasure. But to understand the nature and the structure of pleasure, is essential; because if life is only pleasure, and if that is what one wants, then with pleasure go the misery, the confusion, the illusions, the false values which we create, and therefore there is no clarity.

 It is a simple fact, psychologically as well as biologically, that we are seeking pleasure, and we want all relationship to be based on it; and hence, when relationship is not pleasurable, there is a contradiction, and then the conflict, the misery, the confusion, and the agony begin.

Pleasure is the continuation and the cultivation in thought of a perception.

What is the significance and the meaning of pleasure, which every human being is seeking and pursuing at any cost?

What is pleasure?

There are pleasures derived from possessions; the pleasure derived from a capacity or talent; the pleasure when you dominate another; the pleasure of having tremendous power, politically, religiously or economically; the pleasure of sex; the pleasure of the great sense of freedom that money gives. There are multiple forms of pleasure.

 In pleasure there is enjoyment, and further on there is ecstasy, the taking delight in something and the sense of ecstasy. “Ecstasy” is to be beyond yourself. There is no self to enjoy. The self—that is the me, the ego, the personality—has all totally disappeared, there is only that sense of being outside. That is ecstasy. But that ecstasy has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure.

You take a delight in something; the delight that comes naturally when you look at something very beautiful. At that moment, at that second, there is neither pleasure, nor joy, there is only that sense of observation. In that observation the self is not. When you look at a mountain with its snow cap, with its valleys, its grandeur and magnificence, all thought is driven away.

There it is, that greatness in front of you and there is delight. Then thought comes along registering as memory what a marvellous and lovely experience it was.

 Then that registration, that memory, is cultivated and that cultivation becomes pleasure. Whenever thought interferes with the sense of beauty, the sense of the greatness of anything, a piece of poetry, a sheet of water, or a lonely tree in a field, it is registration. But, to see it and not register it—that is important. The moment you register it, the beauty of it, then that very registration sets thought into action; then the desire to pursue that beauty, which becomes the pursuit of pleasure. One sees a beautiful woman, or man; instantly it is registered in the brain; then that very registration sets thought into motion and you want to be in her or his company and all that follows. Pleasure is the continuation and the cultivation in thought of a perception. You have had sexual experience last night, or two weeks ago, you remember it and desire the repetition of it, which is the demand for pleasure.

Is it possible to register only the things that are absolutely necessary? The necessary things are the knowledge of how to drive a car, how to speak a language, technological knowledge, the knowledge of reading, writing and so on. But in our human relationships, those between man and woman for example, every incident in that relationship is registered.

What takes place?
The woman is irritated, nags, or is friendly, kindly, or says something just before the man goes off to the office, which is ugly; so from this there is built up, through registration, an image about her and she builds an image about him—this is factual. In human relationships, between man and woman, or between neighbors and so on, there is registration and the process of image-making. But when the husband says something ugly listen to it carefully, end it, do not carry it on; then you will find that there is no image-making at all. If there is no image-making between a man and a woman the relationship is entirely different;
 there is no longer the relationship of one thought opposed to another thought—which is called relationship, which actually it is not; it is just ideas.

Pleasure follows registration of an incident in the continuation given by thought. Thought is the root of pleasure. If you had no thought and you saw a beautiful thing it would rest at that. But thought says: “No, I must have that”; from this flows the whole movement of thought.

What is the relationship of pleasure to joy? Joy comes to you uninvited, it happens. You are walking along in a street, or sitting in a bus, or wandering in the woods, seeing the flowers, the hills, and the clouds and the blue sky and suddenly there is the extraordinary feeling of great joy; then comes the registration, thought says: “What a marvellous thing that was, I must have more of it.” So, again, joy is made into pleasure by thought. This is seeing things as they are, not as you want them to be; it is seeing them exactly, without any distortion, seeing what is taking place.

What is love? Is it pleasure; which is the continuation of an incident through the movement of thought? Is the movement of thought love? Is love remembrance? A thing has happened and living in its remembrance, feeling that remembrance of something which is over, resuscitating it and saying, “What a marvellous thing that was when we were together under that tree; that was love”—all that is the remembrance of a thing that is gone. Is that love? Is love the pleasure of sex?—in which there is tenderness, kindliness and so on—is that love? That is not to say that it is, or that it is not.

We are questioning everything that man has put together of which he says: “This is love.” If love is pleasure then it gives emphasis to the remembrance of past things and therefore brings about the importance of the me—my pleasure, my excitement, my remembrances. Is that love? And is love desire? What is desire? One desires a car; one desires a house; one desires prominence, power, position. There are infinite things one desires: to be as beautiful as you are, to be as intelligent, as clever, as smart as you are. Does desire bring clarity?

The thing that is called love is based on desire—desire to sleep with a woman, or sleep with a man, desire to possess her, dominate her, control her,  be with her always,  protect her,  make herbyoir precious possession.  “She is mine, not yours.” Is love in the pleasure derived in that possession, in that dominance?

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